Having debuted this past September, the M+ Pavilion sits in the West Kowloon Cultural District and houses the future art museum’s shows before it officially opens in the tail end of 2019. Following the space’s inaugural show, Tsang Kin-wah’s Macbeth-inspired multimedia exhibition, you can now catch the museum’s very first unveiling of its expansive design collection in “Shifting Objectives: Design from the M+ Collection,” an essential entry on your cultural itinerary this season (through 5 February 2017).
Organised by lead curator Aric Chen and assistant curator Jennifer Wong — the duo are in charge of all things design and architecture at M+ — the show features more than 120 works from 1937 to the present. You’ll find everything from innovative milestones in product and graphic design to important works by contemporary artists recognised worldwide. Here, we’ve selected five outstanding examples of design from the exhibition — the ones you absolutely have to see in person.
‘Chandelier’ (Material Sketch series) by Front (2005)
A 3D-printed design these days may seem quite commonplace, and artists can now easily paint even in a virtual reality environment with tools made widely available such as the Tilt Brush by Google. But at “Shifting Objectives”, you’ll find one of the earlier examples of such technology from over a decade ago. Created in 2005, the Swedish design group Front sketched different furniture pieces in a 3D motion-capture studio, which was recorded and then given a physical form, where UV light helped mould each piece, layer by layer in a bath of liquefied plastic.
‘Imitation’ by Hao Zhenhan (2016)
This much more recent piece investigates the idea of authorship versus imitation in design. Artist Hao Zhenhan took a trip to Jingdezhen, a city known for mass-produced vases imitating classical designs. Using a single broken shard, Hao asked these trained porcelain experts to create a new vase from the remnant, and to paint their own decorative motifs based on photos of other objects at a local antiques market. The finished product is exhibited here today.
‘Borne en Béton concrete light, Chandigarh, India’ by Le Corbusier (1952)
Architecture and design buffs will relish in this piece by the father of modern architecture, Swiss-French master Le Corbusier. Featured in the exhibition (above, right) will be an example of the outdoor concrete lights that Le Corbusier used in the public spaces within the Indian union territory of Chandigarh, which matched the craggy raw concrete look for the government buildings that he also designed. The design was said to be from circa 1952, completed in a housing complex he designed in Marseilles.
‘Watermelon Ball,’ by Chiang Chen (1959)
Those who grew up in Hong Kong before the late ’80s will certainly remember playing with a watermelon ball. The humble toy was actually an ingenious innovation courtesy of engineer/industrialist Chiang Chen, who created the iconic two-tone extrusion blow-moulding process which gave the polyethylene watermelon ball its unique look.
‘Korean Composition’ by Jung Boyoung / WOLFS + JUNG (2011)
‘Korean Composition’ may bring to mind some wacky appropriation of a Piet Mondrian painting, but the vibrant primary colours of this geometrical pattern quilt will give you a window into the modern-day Korean perceptions of society and home. Using the traditional Korean craft of jogakbo patchwork quilting, the artist has put together a pattern imitating floor plans of a typical high-rise apartment in South Korea. The colours used also refer to the traditional obangsaek colours which have their own meanings: blue, which represents renewal and rebirth, is used to fill in bedroom spaces.
M+ Pavilion, West Kowloon Cultural District, Kowloon, Hong Kong, westkowloon.hk
This article is presented by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.